Survey of Toronto tech firms shows international job applications up

March 30, 2018

By Vancouver Sun

A new survey suggests Toronto-region technology companies saw an increase in international job applicants last year as countries including the U.S. tightened their immigration policies.

The survey by the MaRS Discovery District found that of the 55 companies that responded, 53 per cent saw more international applicants in 2017 over 2016 and 45 per cent of companies made international hires last year.

MaRS says the majority of companies surveyed cited immigration reform, including the federal government’s new global skills strategy that can expedite visas, as a key factor influencing their competitiveness.

The survey says 35 per cent of respondents hired used the expedited visas, which were introduced in mid-2017.

Companies said they made hires predominantly from the United States as well as from India, China, Brazil, and the United Kingdom.

MaRS questioned technology firms based primarily in the Toronto region that have over $1 million in annual revenue with U.S. and international market exposure.

The boost in international applications comes as the Trump administration has looked to curb immigration, including ordering a review of a specialty visa program that the tech sector relies on, and looking to dismantle a program that protects children of undocumented migrants from deportation.

Technology companies in the U.S. have criticized the crackdown as international job seekers are a key source of talent for the sector, with immigrants making up about a quarter of the U.S. technology and science workforce.

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